Tuesday, June 25, 2013

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Storms Threaten 42 Million People In The United States Midwest, Dakotas And Western Great Lakes - Dangerous Thunderstorms, Large Hail, Flash Flooding, Damaging Wind And Possible Tornadoes Expected!

June 25, 2013 - UNITED STATESAs potent jet stream energy dives through the northern Plains, several rounds of dangerous thunderstorms will erupt from the Dakotas into the Midwest and western Great Lakes.

Severe Storms Threaten 42 Million In The U.S. Midwest.

Some of the cities and towns most at risk include Minot, N.D.; Fargo, N.D.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Minneapolis, Minn.; La Crosse, Wis.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago, Ill.; Fort Wayne, Ind. and Detroit, Mich.

The worst of the storms will bring damaging wind gusts as high as 60, 70 or even 80 mph. Large hail as big as golf balls or baseballs and a few tornadoes are also possible.

Wind gusts over 60 mph can uproot large trees, snap branches and down power lines, resulting in power outages. Winds this strong can also easily blow around any unsecured objects left outside.

Hail as large as golf balls or baseballs can cause severe injury to animals or people caught outside. Unprotected livestock are especially at risk. Hail of this size can also cause damage to vehicles, roofs on houses and crops such as corn.

Spotty drenching thunderstorms around in the morning will diminish toward noon, but more storms will fire later in the afternoon and evening hours.

The most dangerous storms are likely to fire in the evening hours into the overnight on Tuesday, especially from Minneapolis into Chicago and South Bend.

If you have any plans to be out and about on Tuesday or Tuesday night, you will need to pay special attention to the weather.

Once thunderstorms develop this afternoon, they will strengthen quickly, and dangerous conditions could follow soon after.

One added concern across the region will be very heavy, potentially flooding rain. This storm system will have the ability to produce a large area of 1-3 inches of rain, especially across areas such as Dubuque, Iowa; Madison, Wis. and Chicago, Ill.

Flash flooding can easily become life-threatening, and given the already saturated soil across the region, it will not take much rain to cause flooding.

Current technology has advanced enough over recent years to provide ample alert of the potential for severe weather and the approach of localized severe storms. Be sure to understand the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that an area is being monitored for dangerous weather. A warning means that dangerous weather is imminent. When a warning is issued, there may be too little time to travel across town or across a county to escape the storm. The time to have a plan of action and move to the general vicinity of a storm shelter or safe area is when a watch is issued.

Keep in mind that lightning is one of Mother Nature's most dangerous killers. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning, even if the sun is still shining. - AccuWeather.

Derecho Hits Midwest With Strong Winds, Tornado Reports.
Twitter: Luckily the kids were out! Driver reported she just parked prior. Power line involved.
@omahapolice @OPPDStorm pic.twitter.com/ZSTEQ8IRvQ

A derecho struck the Midwest Monday, leaving wind damage in Chicago, Iowa, and other parts of the Midwest. The Monday storms snarled traffic, air travel, and downed dozens of trees in the region. There were also several tornado reports Monday.

Derechoes are large clusters of thunderstorms that produce widespread wind damage, usually as a result of one or more curved lines of thunderstorms known as bow echoes. The word in the Spanish language means "straight" and these windstorms leave wide, long swaths of straight-line wind damage. These winds can be as strong as 50 to 100 mph or higher.

"The mayhem started when thunderstorms that had been rumbling all morning turned severe right over Omaha, causing serious tree damage and power outages," said weather.com meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

"This line then marched across Iowa with only a brief pause in the wind damage. By the time it reached eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, it was a monster squall line with winds to 80 miles per hour and at least nine reports of embedded tornadoes."

Twitter: This damage in my neighborhood is absolutely nuts. Thankful no one is hurt.

Twitter: Current photo of Chicago from @myrarubin pic.twitter.com/eJnUxEFRrr” Holy crap!

Twitter: My front yard moments after a huge derecho storm front just moved through- that's not my car under there... pic.twitter.com/H4u6EHJ6jj

Commonwealth Edison crews worked to restore electricity to thousands who lost power in Chicago as a thunderstorm swept across northern Illinois.

High winds accompanying the storm uprooted trees and downed power lines Monday.

Commonwealth Edison spokeswoman Liz Keating says at the peak, 300,000 customers, most in Chicago's South Side and southwest suburbs, were without power. Keating said crews began almost immediately to make repairs. As of Tuesday afternoon, approximately 54,000 customers still have no power, predominantly in the south side of Chicago.

Wind gusts of 67 miles per hour were reported at Chicago's Midway International Airport, causing flight delays there and at O'Hare International Airport.

The storm, which moved quickly across the region, also caused the Metra commuter rail line to briefly halt service to Chicago's northern and western suburbs.

Twitter: Dark Omens at Midway Airport.  pic.twitter.com/Ii4dzxVqnr

Twitter: Car in #TinleyPark pic.twitter.com/2VpNppS2V2

A large tree split in two and fell on two homes in Omaha Neb., Monday June 22, 2013 after a fast moving storm knocked down several trees and power lines. (AP Photo/The Omaha World-Herald, Brynn Anderson)

A man inspects a downed tree limb that blocks Woolworth Ave., between 41st and 42nd. Street, Monday, June 24, 2013 in Omaha Neb. A fast moving storm moved through Omaha knocking down several power lines and tree limbs. (AP Photo/The Omaha World-Herald, Chris Machian)

A thunderstorm with heavy rains approaches downtown Chicago, Monday, June 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Eisen)

A car sustains heavy damage after being hit by a tree limb, Monday evening, June 24, 2013 in Momence, Ill. (NWS Chicago/Cole Carmen Weeks)

The threat for storms remains today for the same area.

"The same areas that were hit by Monday's derecho are at risk for more severe weather today," said Wiltgen. "There will be corridors of damaging winds and some large hail, the chance for a few tornadoes, and it's not impossible that another derecho could form."

Below is a roundup of how the derecho affected other states


• Evacuation order for New Hartford as floodwaters threaten the town
• Butler County under flash flood watch until wednesday morning
• Tornadoes reported in Johnson County
• At least one person injured in Muscatine; damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles
• Gov. Terry Branstad will travel to cities in eastern Iowa today.


• 10,000 customers have no power in the Omaha area
• Winds knocked down trees, limbs and damaged homes and business Monday


• Vehicles stuck or abandoned on flooded streets
• No injuries reported

This came after a weekend of storms left hundreds of thousands of people without power in Minnesota and the Great Plains. Approximately 20,000 customers in Minnesota still have no power due to the weekend storms. - TWC.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: The Precursors To A Global Coastal Event - NOAA Scientists Are Reviewing Rare TSUNAMI-Like Waves Along New Jersey's Coast; Up To 6 Feet Above Sea Level!

June 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Scientists are reviewing tsunami-like waves along the southern New Jersey coast that swept three people off of rocks into the ocean.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center says it happened during the afternoon of June 13 in close conjunction with a weather system known as a low-end derecho. The tsunami was detected by more than 30 tide gauges and one buoy throughout the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean.

 Tsunami Event in NJ NOAA graphic shows the low-end derecho from June 12-13, 2013.

The source is complex and still under review, though the coincidence at several gages with strong atmospheric pressure fluctuations indicate that it is at least partly generated by meteorological causes, according to a NOAA statement.

A first-hand description was provided by Brian Coen who observed the event at Barnegat Inlet in New Jersey.

He said he was spear fishing near the mouth of Barnegat Inlet; just south of the submerged northern breakwater at about 3:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day around noon, thunderstorms had moved through the area, according to Coen. By 3:30 the weather was overcast with a light east wind and the outgoing tide was amplified by strong currents which carried divers over the submerged breakwater (normally 3-4 feet deep). The strong outrush continued for 1-2 minutes and eventually the rocks in the submerged breakwater were exposed. Coen says he backed his boat out before being sucked over as well.

At that point, Coen noticed a large wave coming in, approximately 6 feet peak-to-trough and spanning across the inlet. The upper two feet of the wave was breaking. This wave occurred in conjunction with a reversal of the current such that even though the tide was going out, a strong surge was entering the inlet.

Tsunami Event in NJNOAA water vapor satellite image from June 13, 2013.

This surge carried the divers back over the submerged reef and into the inlet from where they were picked up.

On the south jetty three people were swept off the rocks which were 5 to 6 feet above sea level at the time. At least two were injured requiring medical treatment. There was no more strong activity after about 5 minutes.

Scientists say it's also possible the slumping at the Continental Shelf east of New Jersey played a role in the event. - MYFOXNY.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: West Fork Complex Fire In Colorado Doubles To 76,000 Acres With Zero Containment - Official Forecast Fire Likely Will Burn For Months!

June 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - High winds kept firefighters in southwestern Colorado in a defensive posture Monday, but officials are optimistic that decreasing winds will aid efforts on Tuesday and Wednesday in their battle against the West Fork Complex fire.

Wildfire smoke plumes above Del Norte Peak on Sunday, June 23, 2013, in near Del Norte, Colo. A wildfire near a popular summer retreat in southern Colorado continues to be driven by winds and fueled by dead trees in a drought-stricken area, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The fire, a combination of three wildfires — West Fork, Windy Pass and Papoose — has burned about 75,150 acres about 14 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs.

For most of the day, the area was under a red flag warning from the National Weather Service. The fire warning was prompted by gusty winds up to 55 mph in the fire area, low humidities and extremely dry fuels.

Officials said Monday evening that the winds had severely limited air support throughout the day, but structures had been lost.

The massive fire, which is threatening the town of South Fork, is burning through steep terrain with heavy timber, including wide areas of dead, standing beetle-kill spruce trees.

"This is a significant fire, with significant problems," said Pete Blume, West Fork Complex incident commander. "You will not see significant gains until we get some help from the weather."

And, although winds are expected to die down on Tuesday, the temperature is likely to go up.

The cost of fighting the fire is $2.2 million as of Monday.

On Sunday, the fire had some growth to the north and the east, fueled by winds out of the southwest, and it also burned acreage within the perimeter.

Fire command had 895 people working on the fire Monday, with 50 engines, 10 water tenders and nine helicopters.

Command expected to use four or five heavy air tankers, along with three single-engine air tankers Monday.

There is no containment of the fire, but firefighters worked to establish a 2-mile bulldozer line Sunday above South Fork.

"We are very encouraged with those efforts," Blume said.

Blume described the dozer line as the "beginning" of a control line, something firefighters
hoped to "anchor" on Monday.

"Every day it doesn't run at South Fork is a good thing," Blume said. "I have to say, things are looking better but by no means secure."

There are no current plans to allow residents who are evacuated back into their homes.

Wildfire smoke plumes above Del Norte Peak on Sunday, June 23, 2013, in near Del Norte, Colo. A large wildfire near a popular summer retreat in southern Colorado continues to be driven by winds and fueled by dead trees in a drought-stricken area, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Colorado State Patrol officer Jessie Bartunek talks to a motorist as he stands at a checkpoint near South Fork, Colo., Sunday, June 23, 2013. A large wildfire near a popular summer retreat in southern Colorado continues to be driven by winds and fueled by dead trees in a drought-stricken area, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Power had been disrupted in the area by the fire.

The San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative reminded residents to thoroughly cook any refrigerated or frozen foods to the proper temperature to assure that any food-borne bacteria is destroyed.

The fire likely will burn for months, Blume told The Associated Press. And crews are not expecting to make any real gains against the 117-square-mile burn until the summer monsoon season brings cooler temperatures and rains, hopefully in early July.

The blaze started June 5 with a lighting strike in a rugged, remote area of the San Juan Mountains, west of the Continental Divide. A second lightning strike sparked a fire east of the Divide. The two then joined, making a fast run Thursday and Friday at popular tourist areas, including South Fork and the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

A third lightning strike, meantime, sparked another fire to the west, creating what is now called the West Fork complex.

Crews in Colorado also are being challenged by the high altitude, which adds to the danger and complexity of launching air assaults in smoke and high winds, said Larry Trapp, a branch director of air operations with Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident.

Command working the east side of the Continental Divide.

WATCH: U.S. Military - West Fork Complex Fire Aerial Firefighting.

Among the air resources on the way, he said, is a helicopter with infrared technology that can fly through the smoke to map power lines above the tree line.

About a dozen fires burned elsewhere in Colorado, including the nearly 21-square-mile East Peak wildfire near the southern Colorado town of Walsenburg that was 50 percent contained.

Jefferson County issued Level 1 pre-evacuation orders to 106 phones in the Maxwell Hill Road Area Monday afternoon.

Maxwell Hill Road residents have been told to be prepared to leave because of the Bear Gulch fire, according to Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley.

The Bear Gulch Fire is located in the remote area of Elk Mountain Road and Kuehster Road in the Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District.

Fire officials are having a hard time accessing the fire, even smaller trucks cannot get into the area. Air support has already done nine water drops, according to Kelley. - Denver Post.

West Fork Fire Likely Will Burn For Months, Official Says.
Crews defending small homes, a ski area and a handful of roads against an erratic wildfire in Colorado's southwest mountains hoped Monday for a break — any break — in the weather that will allow them to launch a more strategic assault on the backcountry blaze.

The West Fork fire likely will burn for months, said incident commander Pete Blume. And crews are not expecting to make any real gains against the 117-square-mile burn until the summer monsoon season brings cooler temperatures and rains, hopefully in early July.

"This is a significant fire with significant problems, and we are not going to see any significant containment until we have significant changes in the weather," said Blume, who is with the Rocky Mountain Type I Incident Command.

The fire is feeding on beetle-killed trees and is fanned by hot, windy weather. Those conditions were expected to continue across much of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, where a 119-square-mile wildfire in the mountains of Gila National Forest is expected to grow this week.

Some 900 firefighters with a variety of aircraft were in southwestern Colorado, and more were arriving. But so far they have been in an almost completely defensive mode, waiting for the 30-to 40-mile-an-hour afternoon winds that have grounded aircraft and driven flames to subside.

The fire's price tag has topped $2.2 million, and the effort has just begun.

More than 1,000 residents and visitors left homes, cabins and RV parks in South Fork and surrounding areas Friday. As of Monday, no structures were known to have been lost.

The blaze started June 5 with a lighting strike in a rugged, remote area of the San Juan Mountains, west of the Continental Divide. A second lightning strike sparked a fire east of the divide. The two then joined, making a fast run Thursday and Friday at popular tourist areas, including South Fork and the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Wildfire smoke blankets a ridge Sunday, June 23, 2013, near Alpine, Colo. A large wildfire near a popular summer retreat in southern Colorado continues to be driven by winds and fueled by dead trees in a drought-stricken area, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Colorado State Patrol officer Jessie Bartunek talks to a motorist at a checkpoint near South Fork, Colo., Sunday, June 23, 2013. A large wildfire near a popular summer retreat in southern Colorado continues to be driven by winds and fueled by dead trees in a drought-stricken area, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The sun sets through wildfire smoke Sunday, June 23, 2013, near Monte Vista, Colo. A large wildfire near a popular summer retreat in southern Colorado continues to be driven by winds and fueled by dead trees in a drought-stricken area, authorities said. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A third lightning strike, meantime, sparked another fire to the west, creating what is now called the West Fork complex, the largest and most intense to ever hit this area, Blume said. That fire was moving north but was several miles from the historic mining town of Creede. Near the headwaters of the Rio Grande River, the town now has a thriving tourist industry that relies on its colorful past.

In Creede on Monday, residents and tourists shopping went about business as usual. West of town, on Highway 149, hills smoldered above homes where firefighters worked to contain the blaze.

Such larger and longer-burning fires are far from unusual in the drought- and beetle-stricken West. The Rio Grande Forest, for example, had another dry winter. More than half of its hundreds of thousands of acres of mature spruce trees have been killed by beetles, turning the usually fire resistant trees into tinder, Blume said.

 WATCH: Official - West Fork Complex Fire Could Burn For Months.

Crews in Colorado also are being challenged by the high altitude, which adds to the danger and complexity of launching air assaults in smoke and high winds, said Larry Trapp, a branch director of air operations with Rocky Mountain Type I Incident Command working the east side of Continental Divide. Wolf Creek's summit is 11,904 feet; South Fork's elevation is 8,208 feet. Some peaks in the Rio Grande Forest surpass 13,000 feet.

Among the air resources on the way, he said, is a helicopter with infrared technology that can fly through the smoke to map power lines above the tree line. That will allow more tankers to take to the sky to drop retardant, Trapp said.

About a dozen fires burned elsewhere in Colorado, including a nearly 21-square-mile wildfire - named the East Peak fire - near the southern Colorado town of Walsenburg that was 50 percent contained. - Gazette.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: MERS Contagion - WHO Calls For Continued Surveillance As Saudi Arabia Reports One Death And Seven More Cases Of SARS-Like Virus!

June 25, 2013 - SAUDI ARABIAOne death and seven more cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) were reported yesterday, bringing the total of people infected to 62, including 34 deaths.

According to an official from the Ministry of Health, four infected patients from Riyadh and in the Eastern Province were between the age group of seven and 15 years of age.

Mers-CoV death toll rises as more cases are confirmed in Saudi Arabia (Reuters)

Although, these patients were not showing symptoms of the disease, clinical tests have proven positive.
The other three cases included two female health officials and a 50-year-old woman, who is being treated for pulmonary disease in Al-Ahsa in the Eastern region.

So far 20 patients have fully recovered and 10 more are being treated at various hospitals in the affected areas.

In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Health yesterday, Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean appreciated the efforts undertaken by the Kingdom to combat the virus.

“I take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation and sincere gratitude to Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, and to all his employees at the Ministry of Health for their valuable cooperation with the WHO in containing virus,” Alwan noted.

The WHO meeting on the virus, which took place in Cairo, called for continued surveillance and strengthened global awareness campaign against the virus.

A foreign worker wears a mask as he rides a bicycle near the King Fahad Hospital in the city of
Hofuf on June 16, 2013. (AFP)

The meeting acknowledged that despite no current evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission, MERS-CoV might evolve to spread quickly among humans and affect wider geographical areas.

While major knowledge gaps remain in understanding the emergence of this virus, clinical manifestations as well as the transmission risk, recent scientific research is enhancing the global knowledge on the disease.

This new knowledge now needs to be translated into a set of concrete public health actions in order to improve global and regional public health preparedness, said the WHO official. - Arab News.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Sinkhole Area Expands With A 22.4-Acre Opening; The Combined Sinkhole Area Is Now 49 Acres!

June 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - More seismic activity and a burp was reported by the Assumption Parish Police Jury Thursday night.

Giant Louisiana Sinkhole Burps, Seismic Activity Reported
June 21, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP).

The Police Jury blog reported just after 11 p.m. that there was a burp in the giant sinkhole in Bayou Corne. They also reported seismic activity in and around the sinkhole has been active for the past few days.

Officials report that hydrocarbons are present in the sinkhole as a result of the burp that happened Thursday night.

A burp is when air and gas from deep in the sinkhole bubbles up. It can cause debris to float to the top and, in the past, has caused more trees to be swallowed into the slurry.

It's been almost a year since a massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou began causing problems. Bubbling in the bayou led to the sinkhole. About 350 people have been forced out of their homes since August.

It has been 10 months since hundreds living near the giant sinkhole were forced from their homes.
Bubbles were spotted in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in June 2012. Two months later, the ground opened up.

Most affected residents began receiving weekly checks from Texas-Brine in the amount of $875 per week.

Nine months after the sinkhole first appeared in Bayou Corne, Texas Brine began making offers to buy out the residents living there. - WAFB.

Some Assumption Residents Take Buyouts From Salt Dome Owner
Texas Brine Co. officials said Friday that out-of-court settlement offers have been accepted so far by about one-third of the evacuated Bayou Corne residents offered such deals.

The Houston-based company and willing residents face a 5:30 p.m. Monday court-imposed deadline to reach buyout deals over Texas Brine’s salt dome cavern failure last year and the resulting sinkhole that has forced a continuing evacuation of about 350 people in the Assumption Parish community since Aug. 3.

Sonny Cranch, Texas Brine spokesman, said offers have been prepared and received by 91 people, and 30 have accepted them. More deals could be struck during the weekend, he said.

“We’re going to be working all weekend until 5:30 (p.m.) Monday,” he said.

Some residents who accepted offers declined to speak about them this week.

But Lorna Prudhomme, 70, an evacuated Bayou Corne resident and a retired Baton Rouge-area real estate agent, said her agreement left several key details unsettled, such as when to vacate and what items can go.

(Source: Assumption Parish OEP).

“This offer is basically just a number,” she wrote in an email. “The main ingredient missing from this transaction is a good Realtor to advise both the Seller (Residents) and the Buyer (Texas Brine) of normal expectations.”

Prudhomme declined to disclose what she has been offered. She said she and her husband felt the appraisal for their home is fair but they are not entirely pleased with the total offer, which includes additional money over the appraised value.

Cranch said the additional money is designed to settle any other claims.

Prudhomme said the ages of her and her husband — he is 76 — and their slipping health this past year have led them to try to reach an agreement anyway.

“There are many older residents who do not have the time to be involved in a feisty, lengthy court battle as time is not on their side,” she wrote.

“We are in this group.”

Cranch said the company is trying to reach agreements first, but still had details to work out as in any sale closing.

The settlement negotiations have been conducted among 103 residents under evacuation orders and without legal representation. More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed so far in state and federal court in regard to the sinkhole.

U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey imposed the Monday settlement deadline for those residents who are class members of a consolidated class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in New Orleans against Texas Brine and other companies.

After Monday, Texas Brine cannot directly negotiate with residents, but the residents will need to have legal representation. Class members have until July 11 to mail requests to opt out of the suit, Zainey ruled. A key bellwether trial is set for April 14, 2014.

The company’s drive to reach settlements comes as the sinkhole — now a 22.4-acre opening underneath floodwaters inside containment levees surrounding a 82-acre swath of swamp — emitted more tremors and another burp about 10 p.m. Thursday

John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said his office received calls late Thursday night about a petroleum odor that signaled the onset of burp activity. Increasing tremors this week also pointed to a possible burp.

He said an emulsified mix of crude oil and debris that sometimes comes up with burps also surfaced in the sinkhole. Parish video shows it is hemmed in by retardant boom.

(Source: Assumption Parish OEP).

A newly released depth survey shows the hole itself has grown by 3.1 acres since the last survey in mid-May.

This new survey was taken three days after containment levees south of the sinkhole sunk and were overtopped with rising swamp water that followed heavy rainstorms in early June. The levee has since been patched, though plans are being made to relocate the structure.

The agreed-upon edge of the submerged hole lies at a depth of 10 feet beneath the surface of the water, but a shallower subsidence area surrounding the hole also has grown since May, making the combined sinkhole area 49 acres in size, the new survey shows.

In another development, Texas Brine plans to demonstrate at 9 a.m. Saturday at Sportsman’s Landing, 1491 La. 70 South, a cone penetrometer test. It measures gas levels in the shallow soils under the community, parish officials said.

One of the side effects of the Texas Brine cavern failure has been the release of oil and gas from deep formations related to the massive underground salt deposit named the Napoleonville Dome.

Since the first weeks after the sinkhole emerged, Texas Brine has paid residents under the evacuation order a total of $5.5 million in weekly assistance payments, or about $40,250 per residence, whether or not people have moved out, company officials said this week.

The company agreed to evacuation assistance in the event of a sinkhole when the state permitted the cavern in 1982.

The company has been under pressure from Gov. Bobby Jindal and others to buy out residents who want to leave.

One of them, Lindsey Blanchard, 61, an evacuated Bayou Corne resident building a new house in Pierre Part, said he has gone through six offers and counter-offers with Texas Brine. He or his wife plan to speak with the company again Saturday.

Blanchard said he feels the buyout negotiation process has been driven by insurers and the bottom line, causing the proceedings to be dragged out in order to wear claimants down.

“Does that make any sense to you? Why offer me something so low and I tell them what I want and they take four or five baby steps to get to what they’re going to give me?” Blanchard asked. “A lot of people are frustrated with that. Not just me.”

He said the initial offer for his two-story house was $258,000, which he said was very far from what he was seeking.

Blanchard’s vacated house recently caught fire, but Texas Brine officials have said appraisals would be based on values before the sinkhole or bayou bubbles appeared last year. - The Advocate.

WEATHER PHENOMENON: "It Was Just Like A Ball Of White Light,... Just Like A Bouncing Bomb" - Rare "Ball Lightning" Blamed As Mannings Heath Loses Power And Internet In The United Kingdom!

June 25, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOMAn eyewitness has described seeing a ball of white light shoot through Mannings Heath, just before a power cut and digital disruption.

File Photo.

The object, which appears to fit descriptions of a rare phenomenon called 'ball lightning', was seen in the village on the afternoon of June 7.

Roger Spinks told the County Times he was working at The Village Store, Pound Lane, when he saw it shoot past, heading south-west along the course of Golding Lane and Church Road.

He was standing at the counter talking to a customer when he saw it out of the window, going past very quickly with a strange motion 'like a bouncing bomb'.

Mr Spinks said it reminded him of the mysterious balloon-like entity from cult TV series The Prisoner.

"It was just like a ball of white light," he said. "It flashed down the road, then there was a terrific bang like a bomb going off, and our lights went out.

Image: West Sussex County Times.

"Our card machine went out - I think it took out a lot of the village's phones, broadband and Sky."

BT engineers were in the village for three days, restoring connections.

"Our telephone was gone for several days," said Mr Spinks. "A couple of lads came in, they were window cleaners.

"One of them had been up a ladder cleaning and the shock of it knocked him off the ladder."

Ball lightning is rarely seen, and its cause and nature are the subject of a number of hypotheses.

These range from it being a form of St Elmo's Fire - a harmless electrical effect often seen aboard ships - to it being caused by a tiny antimatter meteor reaching ground level.

The phenomenon is extremely difficult to study scientifically because it appears very rarely and very unpredictably.

Since so little is known about it, 'ball lightning' has been used as a handy explanation for many reported mysteries, including UFOs, spontaneous human combustion, and the Star of Bethlehem. - WS County Times.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Plagues & Pestilences - 300 Cattle Have Died From Disease In Warrigundu Station, Australia!

June 25, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Around 300 cattle, which died on an Indigenous-owned station in the Northern Territory this month, are believed to have contracted botulism.

 Cattle are buried on Warrigundu Station in the Northern Territory. (Beth Luck)

The stock on Warrigundu Station, 300 kilometres south-east of Katherine, were reportedly vaccinated for the disease four days before the first cows started dying.

Garry Cook, from the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), says the source of the botulism is still unknown, but it's most likely to have occurred in decaying animal carcasses.

"We're are really perplexed about what's happened because these cattle have been vaccinated every year.

"They were freshly vaccinated and turned out of the yards into this particular paddock," he said.

"So why these particular animals succumbed to something despite vaccination is something the Department of Primary Industry is still working with us on."

ABC Rural has obtained photos of some of the dead cattle, which have been buried in ditches.

Earlier this year, the station was named as one of the best Indigenous-owned and run businesses in Australia by the Federal Government.

Mr Cook says this is the first time the ILC has lost so many cattle under its management of properties in northern Australia.

Around 300 cattle died on the property in the Northern Territory this month. (Beth Luck)

"The ILC runs 96,000 head of cattle across Australia and this is the first time anything like this has happened to us.

"The management protocols and procedures here on Hodgson Downs (Warrigundu) are the same we apply across all the stations," he said.

"With vaccination against botulism every year, supplementation with phosphorus over every wet season, we are nonplussed to say the least."

The NT Department of Primary Industry issued a statement to ABC Rural which confirms the cattle died from botulism.

"The DPIF understands that the cattle were vaccinated, but even properly vaccinated cattle can succumb if the amount of toxin is high enough to overpower the animal's immune system.

"The investigating veterinarian determined that there were no issues with access to feed and water, and the affected animals were seen to be in good condition," the statement read.

"The circumstances that led to the botulism outbreak are still being examined, to aid in preventing similar episodes in the future." - ABC News Australia.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: CyCV-VN - New Virus Found In Vietnam Brain Infection Patients, Study Says!

June 25, 2013 - VIETNAM - Researchers have discovered a new virus in patients in Vietnam suffering from severe brain infections, a team of scientists reported today in mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The virus was detected in 28 of 644 patients who had severe brain infections and none of 122 patients who had non-infectious brain disorders, according to researchers at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Wellcome Trust South East Asia Major Overseas Programme and the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam. It’s tentatively called CyCV-VN and is part of a group of viruses known as Circoviridae known to circulate in animals such as birds and pigs, they said.

“We don’t yet know whether this virus is responsible for causing the serious brain infections we see in these patients, but finding an infectious agent like this in a normally sterile environment like the fluid around the brain is extremely important,” Rogier van Doorn, head of emerging infections at the Wellcome Trust Vietnam Research Programme and Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Vietnam, said in a statement.

Brain infections can be fatal and may leave people who survive them with severe disabilities, the researchers said. Bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses can cause the infections, though doctors can’t pinpoint the cause of more than half of them.

The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the European Union and the Li Ka-Shing Foundation-University of Oxford Global Health Programme. - Bloomberg.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For June 25, 2013 - Updates On Popocatépetl, Kizimen, Shiveluch, Tolbachik, Sakurajima, Manam, Veniaminof And Pavlof!

June 25, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The volcano has remained at moderate levels with frequent but mostly smaller gas-steam-ash emissions at a rate of approx. 3 per hour. Plumes reached about 1 km above the crater.

Emission of ash and steam from Popocatépetl yesterday morning.

According to a local press article, some US airlines (United, AA) decided to temporarily use alternative airports instead of Mexico's International Airport (AICM) as a precaution against encountering ash. AICM itself reports that so far no ash so far has been detected at/near the airport.

Kizimen (Kamchatka): The lava dome remained active and produced hot avalanches on the western and eastern volcanic flanks. Moderate seismic activity and strong and moderate gas-steam activity accompany this process. Satellite data showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano. (KVERT)

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Seismic activity has decreased, classified as weak by KVERT. This suggests the active dome is in a phase of relative calm.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): No end of the eruption is in sight. Lava continues to be erupted from the southern fissure. KVERT reports no significant changes and tremor levels have remained stable over the past 2 weeks.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano is back to about 1-2 explosions of moderate size per day.

Manam (Papua New Guinea): Ash plumes at 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude and extending to the NW were observed on satellite images (VAAC Darwin).

Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): Activity has continued over the past days with little changes. Direct observations are difficult, but for the first time, some incandescence from the central cone was observed on the webcams yesterday. This is likely due to the presence of a lava flow and/or spattering from a vent. The latest update from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO.

Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The eruption continues at low levels. Seismic tremor and occasional explosions are being detected in seismic data and indicate that minor ash emission is likely occurring, although no ash plumes were detected on satellite data over the past day.

Elevated surface temperatures at the volcano have been observed in satellite data over the past 24 hours indicating lava at or near the surface. (AVO)

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for June 25, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Beemageddon - The Collapse Of The Honeybee Industry Could Cost Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars!

June 25, 2013 - EARTH Honeybees don't just produce honey: the hard-working insect is also fundamental to the world's food supply.

One-third of the food we eat
depends on insect pollination, mostly by honeybees that are raised and managed by beekeepers.

The value of insect pollinators on world agricultural production, which accounts for their role in producing better quality and quantity of harvests, was estimated at $208 billion in 2005.

That figure does not even include the retail value of what honeybees pollinate — everything from apples and cherries to broccoli and pumpkins — or the honey that bees produce. In the United Kingdom alone, where honeybees contribute an added crop value of about $413 million, the estimated retail value is north of $1 billion.

But the downward spiral of honeybee populations — 
both wild and captive — has put all of all of that at risk.
The number of managed colonies is declining nationwide because of new pressures including disease, parasites, and the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, when bees inexplicably disappear from their hives. The stresses of being trucked around the country thousands of mile each year to pollinate different orchards has also taken its toll.

Over the last six years, American beekeepers have lost 30% of their hives each winter on average. More specifically, 10 million beehives have been lost at a cost of $200 a hive since 2006, according to the latest report on honeybee health from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency. The cost to replace all of those dead hives — a total of $2 billion — falls on the beekeepers.

Although there are many insect pollinators, there is no good replacement for honeybees, which are easy to manage in masses and are unmatched in the variety of crops they can pollinate. Almonds, for example, rely entirely on pollination by honeybees. American farmers use more than half of the country's 2.4 million honeybee colonies each year to pollinate nearly $3 billion of almonds crops, mostly in California.

Honeybees as a species are not in danger of disappearing, Kim Kaplan from the USDA says, but what is at risk are large-scale commercial beekeepers and therefore also the farmers who depend on these bees to pollinate their crops.

The income that beekeepers earn from renting their bees to farmers has become increasingly important as farms have expanded in recent decades. If losses stay at the current unsustainable rate, however, more and more beekeepers will have to shut down.

"Imagine you were a dairy farmer and lost 30% of your cows every year — how long would you stay in business?" asks Carlen Jupe, secretary and treasurer of the California State Beekeepers Association. "You can't lose that percentage of livestock and stay in business."

If beekeepers go out of the business, the number of managed colonies will fall even more drastically, meaning farmers will have to pay more for pollination services.

Agricultural economists Daniel Sumner and Hayley Boriss, both of the University of California Davis, note that the decline in California bee populations, coupled with a higher demand for pollination services because of expanding almond crops, has hiked up pollination fees.

"From 2004 to 2006, the price of honeybees to pollinate California almonds has jumped from about $54 per colony to about $136 per colony," the authors wrote in a report from 2006.

If farmers have to pay more for pollination services, it's only a matter of time before consumers start seeing that fee reflected in grocery store prices. - Business Insider.

EXTREME WEATHER: 23 Boy Scouts Hospitalized After Lightning Strike In Belmont, New Hampshire!

June 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Twenty-three Boy Scouts were hospitalized after a lightning strike in New Hampshire on Monday night, a fire chief said.

File Photo.

Chief David Parenti, of Belmont Fire Station, said the Scouts, aged from 12 to 16, were at the Griswold Scout Reservation in Belmont when the incident happened.

He said they were taken to local hospitals for further evaluation.

When asked about their conditions, he said he “wouldn't even call it serious.”

Parenti told NBC station WHDH that many of the injuries were minor burns. He said six scouts were given cardiac monitors because the burns were in the chest area.

However, he said this was done mostly as a precaution.

He told WHDH that the scouts had taken shelter under a tarp during the storm.

“At some point in time the lightning either struck nearby or struck the shelter they were under or a tree or something and traveled through into the meadow,” he said.

WATCH: Lightning struck near a Boy Scout campsite in Belmont, N.H., overnight, where 23 scouts and three adults were hospitalized. All are reported to be doing well.

Greg Osborn, marketing director for Daniel Webster Council, a division of the Boy Scouts of America, said that three leaders were also affected by the strike.

He said no one was directly hit, but all reported a tingling sensation afterward.

Osborn said they were taken to Lakes Region Hospital and Concord Hospital as a precaution. - NBC.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Toronto Extreme Heat Alert Issued As City Swelters - Hot And Muggy June Weather Feels Like "The Dog Days Of Summer"?!

June 25, 2013 - CANADA - Toronto issued an extreme heat alert on Monday, as Mother Nature delivered a dose of hot, sticky weather that typically comes later in the summer.

Thi Pham drenches her face at the water fountain in Toronto's Dundas Square. Temperatures are expected
to hit 33 C today. Here's a look at how people are dealing with the heat. (Asha Siad/CBC)

"What we are seeing right now is almost what you would see in the dog days of summer," said David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada.

The temperature hit an afternoon high of 32 C at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, though the humidex made it feel more like 40.

Donna Nurse keeps hydrated with a bottle of water. During an extreme heat alert, people are encouraged to
make sure they are keeping cool and drinking plenty of fluids. (Asha Siad/CBC)

For residents of a downtown condo building near Yonge and Harbour streets, the hot weather coincided with a power outage that left them waiting for the air conditioning to be restored.

Joel Cruz spent the day outside his 11th floor unit, where it was simply too warm to stay.

"Although we have windows and a door to the balcony, we’re not getting a lot of wind going up there, so it’s really sticky," Cruz told CBC News.

The extreme heat alert has made the city open up cooling stations in Toronto and they also may extend
the opening hours at city pools. (Asha Siad/CBC)

The extreme heat alert was an upgrade to the existing heat alert that was declared the day before.

During an extreme heat alert, people are encouraged to check on family, friends and neighbours, especially vulnerable adults and children, to make sure they are keeping cool and drinking plenty of fluids.

Pietro, 4, plays in the splash pad at Dundas Square in Toronto. High temperatures are expected to continue
throughout the week, before cooling off by Friday. (Asha Siad/CBC)

People are also encouraged to seek shelter at air-conditioned shopping malls, libraries, community centres and city-run cooling centres.

Extreme heat in Toronto.

Other tips on coping with the heat include drinking lots of cool water, wearing loose, breathable clothing and a hat, staying in the shade and never leaving children, seniors or pets unattended in a car. - CBC.